Investigators narrow search on doomed EgyptAir flight's final location
An Egyptian team investigating the location and final moments of EgyptAir Flight 804 said its emergency location transmitter [ELT] has been tracked to a five kilometre radius in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Ayman al-Moqaddem, head of the investigation team, told local media on Wednesday the distress signal transmitter had been detected, which should help search teams pinpoint the location of the passenger plane's black boxes.
"The location of the device has been traced to a five kilometre circle through the signals it sends to satellites," Moqaddem said.
"Searches are underway to find the device which will help find other parts of the wreckage," he added.
The plane crashed in the Mediterranean last Thursday between the Greek island of Crete and Egypt's north coast with 66 people aboard, including 30 Egyptians and 15 French nationals.
The French foreign ministry said on Wednesday that France and Egypt will hire two private firms to help in the hunt for the black boxes.
"We are in talks with two private companies... in coordination with the Egyptian authorities," a ministry spokesman said.
"The idea is to mobilise the resources very quickly."
A diplomatic source in Paris said the two companies, both French, were the Mauritius-based Deep Ocean Search [DOS] and Alseamar, based in the French capital.
French and Egyptian aviation officials have said it is too soon to determine what caused the disaster, although a terror attack on the Airbus A320 has not been ruled out.
France and Egypt will share the costs for the search, which faces a race against the clock, as the flight data and voice recorders emit locator "pings" for no more than about a month.
Egypt has deployed a submersible that can operate at a depth of 3,000 metres in the hunt for the black boxes, while a French patrol boat is also in the search area, concentrating mainly on the surface.
France's aviation safety agency has said the aircraft transmitted automated messages indicating smoke in the cabin and a fault in the flight control unit before contact was lost.
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